Australia

Man arrested for meeting underage girl

An Adelaide man has been arrested where he was allegedly meeting a 14-year-old girl he groomed online. The man, 19, is due to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday over allegations he went to meet a young girl whom he’d been speaking to online since July.However, the 14-year-old was actually a police officer.The…

An Adelaide man has been arrested where he was allegedly meeting a 14-year-old girl he groomed online.

The man, 19, is due to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Friday over allegations he went to meet a young girl whom he’d been speaking to online since July.

However, the 14-year-old was actually a police officer.

The man was arrested by the South Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) on Thursday after he arrived at the train station for the planned meeting.

Police say the man resisted arrest.

Electronic devices were also seized from his northern Adelaide home that allegedly contained child abuse material.

He was later charged with using a carriage service to procure a person under the age of 16 to engage in or submit to sexual activity, possessing child abuse material and obstruction.

He faces maximum penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) Detective Acting Superintendent Gavin Stone said the conversations allegedly became sexual in nature.

“The 19-year-old kept requesting to meet in person,” Sup Stone said.

“He allegedly asked the girl to wear a short skirt and no underwear.”

Investigations into the 19-year-old began in May 2019 after the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a person in Australia having an online sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl in the US on social media to the AFP.

A JACET operative posed as a girl, and police say the man was soon chatting to her online.

Supt Stone said it was fortunate on this occasion that a child had not been on their way to meet an adult planning to abuse them.

“This arrest is also a warning to any adult who wants to prey on children online – you may not be talking to a vulnerable child; you could be talking to a police officer,” he said.

“The AFP and SA Police work closely together and, with our partners overseas, have a range of skills and tactics to expose you and bring you to justice.”

SA JACET arrested 89 people in the 2019-20 financial year for child abuse-related offences. As a result, 52 children in Australia and overseas were saved from harm over that time.

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